DAN COLEN, TRASH
Written by Josh Smith
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I’m interested in using the "real world" as a material and a force within my process. I like how these materials take some control away from me, allowing for a more uncertain future and yet a more finished piece. These materials come with a history, not one I necessarily know, but a history for sure. There is an infinity in "real-world objects" that, no matter how much I try, I couldn’t paint or sculpt into being. —Dan Colen
This visually lush artist’s book, showing Dan Colen’s Trash series, makes visible and palpable how Colen’s studio has learned to work with abject things and materials by tapping into their individual histories and exposing their latent energies. The fervid paintings readdress midcentury painterly investigations of gravity and the flatbed picture plane, but unlike Colen’s predecessors’ radical experiments, where the composition of elements equals the sum total of the work, here the spirited debris of the street becomes the means by which paint is moved around on the canvas until they both (the tool and the medium) come to rest. Thus each painting is an actual and still potent record of real time and visceral experience, offering unexpected moments of transcendence. All images are full-page size, with accompanying details of the paintings.